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Saturday, 16 January 2010

Stray


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File:Feral cat Virginia crop.jpg





Whirled toward the Nimitz the busy tires sing
Green groves withhold a wilderness of lamps
As in mid street the scavenger appears
Who begs bald and scabrous with legs exposed
From hour to hour in the fog and cold
While the fireworks of cigarettes flipped
From passing cars into the moth eaten boughs
Glow like showers of doubtful shooting stars
Buffeted by winds of a machine future
The ejected scavenger circles restless
As if admonished from another world
Exploits night's intermediate hours of rest
When the great tide of traffic stands still
And the mighty waters part for him to cross





Feral cat: photo by Stavrolo, 2008

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love cats; love this poem.

TC said...

Thank you so much, Anonymous. Your words strike a chord here.

That picture of the poor sad feral did lead me into Tears, literally as well.

The "original" of this poem was a big black cat without a home, suffering with terminal feline AIDS and unimaginable other ills as well, who spent the last winter of his sad life outdoors in a driveway across the freeway feeder from us. We braved the lethal traffic flow every day to go over to feed and try to console him. He was past ambulation, finally. We constructed a pathetic little hutch for him, but he couldn't understand it. Once or twice he ventured lamely across the traffic flow to our side of the raceway, but in fear and confusion slouched right back. Talk about tears. It was a hard winter, much as this one now, with frosts and endless rains. In the mute and stoical way of cats he endured it all until there was no more enduring it. He simply disappeared somewhere to die, again after the common manner of ferals. Those last months were one long lamentation. We called him Big Boy. He was the dearest sweetest scruffiest saddest creature I think I have ever known.

Tears again in the night to think of him now.

The poem was originally called The Circus of Representation Continues, but my Muse forbade posting it by that title, fearing people would think I was writing about myself.

I won't deny having felt some sense of identification, but there was a great difference. He was not a complainer.

u.v.ray. said...

>> but there was a great difference. He was not a complainer <<

Christ Almighty! I swear if my cat could speak he would whinge and complain endlessly.

He bought a mouse in the house this morning - and what a pallaver we had because it was taken off him and put back outside. He pulled his face for an hour.

He's sleeping on the sofa next to me right now. Fed from arsehole to beak.

He has so much to complain about - he's just so hard done by - when he wakes up he will be whining again as if he is being strangled. I have never heard a cat put so much energy into making his complaints heard.

leigh tuplin said...

I just keep rereading this, enjoying the word choices, alliteration etc, becoming lost in each lines imagery as it links with the next,growing into the fullest picture.

Really enjoyed this Tom.

u.v.ray. said...

>> There is evidently a cat grapevine, word about our silly doting hospitality has got round, stranger cats are forever setting up a racket at our door <<


He WAS a stranger cat!! He turned up and moved in.

TC said...

Leigh,

Many thanks for getting the picture... purr-fectly.


Ray,

Well, now you've gone and done it -- told the truth about the remarkable ability of cats who have congenial home circumstances (such as yours, obviously) to assume the privileges of furry royalty. And good for them.

We have presently three living with us and constantly making their wishes and worries known in every available manner. And of course we are at their beck and call twenty-four hours a day (though some days it seems like more).

There is evidently a cat grapevine, word about our silly doting hospitality has got round, stranger cats are forever setting up a racket at our door, demanding (and then of course getting) feeding. In the midst of the current elemental wind-and-rain-furies of El Niño, who can say no to them? Though when the big trees come down, the power goes out, the flimsy makeshift roof blows off, the waters rise, and the whole derelict structure slides down the hillside, will they be waiting to provide us food and shelter, from their great stores of thoughtfulness and kindness?

TC said...

And while I may... here are some cats of the past.

These three were particular companions:

The Great Sphinx

Dark Sister

A cat at rest at last

Cleanliness is next to cattiness:

Cats cleaning themselves

Further feline ablutions

Some bigger cats:

An ocelot

A jaguar

A leopard

A big cat on the savanna

Tears in the rain for big cats

And on cats as companions to humans:

A cat who watched over children

A cat who kept a man company in prison

A cat who got a bad rap

TC said...

Ray,

Either you are one extremely psychic cat, or I have got my comment-posting-order (and brain cells) completely scrambled.

(Probably both.)

human being said...

the last line is so strong... the way it gives the aminal a holy aura...

your cats listed here show your deep love for them...

i love them too... they never let you forget how life can be as easy as a meow... and as peaceful as a purr...

about 4 months ago we brought a stray little kitty (nearly dying) to our home... and i think he has changed it in a positive way..

TC said...

That's lovely, Hb. Same thing, these strangers are gifts.

gamefaced said...

you can bring out beauty in anything.
thank you.

Elmos St. Rose said...

food chain

the ghost and the darkness
man eating lions
chess or checkers
uncanny trackers

food for thought

TC said...

gamefaced and saint elmo,

All the cats love you both almost enough to eat you up.